Inwa watchtower set to reopen after revamp
INWA archeological zone’s leaning watchtower is set to soon reopen after a spate of repairs.
Nan Myint Tower in Tada-U township has been closed due to restoration since the first week of October but is expected to reopen to visitors sometime in November, U Nyo Myint Tun director of the Mandalay branch of the Department of Archeology, National Museum, and Library told The Myanmar Times.
“Domestic and foreign observers will be allowed to go up after the repairs are done. When they are allowed back in, they must not deface the tower by writing on it,” he said.
The spire-like roof of Nan Myint Tower is being painted and the floor is being replaced. Its corridors are also being repaired to ensure structural integrity. People were not previously permitted to climb the tower because it was damaged, U Nyo Myint Tun said.
The nearly 90-foot-high tower was erected in the 18th century and is the only remaining tower of King Bagyidaw’s palace after a series of earthquakes in 1839 caused substantial damage. Instead of rebuilding, the former royal capital was abandoned for Amarapura.
In addition to the work on Nan Myint Tower, the middle cave of Pinya’s Three-Cave (Gu Thone Lone) Pagoda and the Inwa Archeological Museum are also currently closed for repair, with the former nearly complete, U Nyo Myint Tun said.
The door of Sandar Puri and the palace wall that connects to the Kyaing Yone door are also slated to be repaired before the end of the fiscal year.
The museum, which houses statues and artifacts from the surrounding cultural heritage zone that date back to the 14th century, as well as historical photos and maps, is expected to be closed for the remainder of the year, with the Department of Archaeological Research planning a complete overhaul. More exhibits and installation areas are also included in the K80 million upgrade.
Except for the museum revamp, all the repairs at Inwa are coming from a K180 million budget supplied by the Union government. These building were showing signs of their age and were scheduled for repair prior to the August 24 earthquake that damaged hundreds of historical sites across the country.
“Inwa is an ancient zone wellknown for domestic and international tourism,” said tour guide Ma Thiri. “The ancient buildings in these kinds of cultural zones must be conserved. It should not be a short-term plan. The nation derives income from those cultural zones. It is not just the buildings that need work. The streets and messy yards should be cleared.”
– Translation by San Layy